Another January project I worked on in my kitchen was organizing my spices. After so many searches in the cupboard to find the right one, I found a much better solution. Keeping the spices in similar sized containers and arranging them so they be easily seen. Here is how I organized my spices:
Uniform Container Size - Decide what size container to put all of your spices into for everyday use. That doesn't mean you can't buy larger containers. Just store them elsewhere. I bought 4 1/4" high by 1 3/4" wide plastic spice containers from WinCo for .84 each. They have a shaker hole lid, but you have to take the lid off to put a measuring teaspoon inside. Or look for glass containers on Amazon.com or at IKEA.
Which Spices, Which Containers - Decide which spices you want to put in your containers and total them. You could reuse a few spice containers that are about the same size. BBQ seasonings, onions, and gravy can stay in their original large containers if you go through them a lot, and whole cloves can stay in their teeny tiny container because they are rarely used.
Transfer Spices - Make a handy-dandy spice funnel out of paper rolled into a cone shape and taped into place. Make sure the opening is not too small and at least 3/4 of an inch. Prepare for sneezing and spills. I still smell like cumin. Put the funnel into the new container and carefully pour from another container. You can do this over the sink. Be careful not to pour too quickly. When done, wipe off or tap off excess spice. Clean the funnel by tapping or shaking into the sink. I used the same funnel for all spices and it held up.
If you have leftover spices in larger containers, put them in a box, write the spice names on the box, and put the box away in the basement or under a bed. You don't need them in your kitchen taking up space other foods need.
They are great for a year or two food storage supply. If you need to refill spice jars and don't want to buy a large container at Sam's Club or Costco, try to purchase at a bulk food store like WinCo.
Label Containers - With a permanent marker or label maker (one of my favorite gadgets) put the names of all spices on the back side of the lid cap. That way it won't be rubbed too much with your fingers. Press labels on firmly. You may need a little Scotch tape too.
Homemade Stair-step Spice Organizer - Make a spice step for your spices after you transfer them into containers. I built my own step from a 2 x 4 piece of wood we had on hand, but I'm sure you could use another size board as well. Here's how:
- Divide your spices by three so you know how many to fit on each board. Cut 3 boards into a length that will hold your spices, but allow for a few extra. I had 27 spices, so I had my son cut the wood 18 inches long or enough for 10 spice containers. Actually you will only put spices on two boards and use the area in front of one board for more spices.
- Lay one board down flat in the back of the shelf, and put another one in front of that also laying flat. Put the third one on top of the back board. You could use sticky back velcro to hold them into place, but you really don't need too.
- Arrange your spices alphabetically. That's it! You can see everything and love it, just like I do. Look at the first picture and see how much space is in my cupboard!